Time in Hand

It was a beautiful sunset, the delicate hues of which are always impossible to capture on camera (I’ll try though!)…

As the twilight gathered, I pushed on along the mountain top towards Cajatambo.  And then I hit the dirt!  Literally.  Whilst I had my pretty bright front light illuminating the way, perhaps if I’d used my head torch too I might have made out the sandy rut in the middle of what had otherwise been a pretty good surface.  Anyway, it sent me flying and I came down quite heavily on my right hand.  First thoughts, as ever, were ‘please let the bike be OK’!  Fortunately, Sally’s a tough character and she had survived another bit of dodgy handling with no major issues!  My iPhone hadn’t quite fared so well – mounted on the handlebars it had taken a heavy hit and the screen was smashed.  Amazingly, however, the touchscreen still worked, which was some consolation, given that it’s my primary navigation device.  I have backup options but it’s by far the best/easiest to use.  I was probably most miffed as it was the first phone screen that I’ve broken – I’m really disciplined about looking after my phone but I guess it’s better to break it this way than to absent-mindedly drop it in the street!  And besides, I knew I’d be able to get it fixed somewhere.  After literally dusting myself off, I got back on and gently pedalled the remaining 10km or so to Cajatambo, not without a fair bit of pain at each jarring bump!

The next morning, I took stock – my right hand/wrist was sore (actually the left one too, but to a much lesser degree) but not totally unusable!  I decided to push on, not least because it was the day before my birthday and I wanted to wake up somewhere special but also because I had pushed pretty hard the day before and didn’t want that to go to waste.  Besides, I’d had enough of moping around in town when I was ill in Yungay with food poisoning.  I’ve certainly been less grouchy and my mood was not improved by an incident late morning when a large rock (football-sized) hit the road about a metre in front of me and rolled off down the mountain!  I turned to look upwards and about 10-15m up the mountain stood a very guilty-looking cow!

I hate to think what might have happened had it hit me on the head (I was wearing my sun hat for the long ascent), but it serves to show that you can only deal with what’s in front of you – the unexpected can and will happen but there’s not a lot that you can do about it!  I’ve certainly had days where I’ve been more enthusiastic about the beautiful scenery…

Finally at the pass (at just over 4500m)…

Having been chased by a pack of five really aggressive dogs for a while, who actually succeeded in slowing me down by biting at the straps on my rear panniers (yep, that really added to my good mood!), I began to look for and eventually found a really nice camping spot on some flat ground up above the road.  Finally, a stealthy campsite as an early birthday present to myself!

Quickly followed by some spectacular stars, which helped to put a positive spin on a trying day…

It got cold overnight at 4400m (my bike computer said -2C) so the next morning was pretty frosty and, having awoken early (it was my birthday after all!), it was a bit of a wait for the sun to clear the mountain and warm things up!

Sun at last…


  1. epic as always Campbell!!!
    just can’t get over those star photos! please tell me your somehow taking super long exposures with the theta! rather than the milky way just staring right at ya!
    keep up the adventuring dude!! and watch out for those rock throwing cows!!

  2. Mate, another cracking read and inspirational stuff! Loving that you are hanging with the locals so much – are you restrained enough not to drink too much of the local brew! Your chat up lines must be very good to get dinner and a bedroom for the night at people’s houses! #respect

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